business news in context, analysis with attitude

A weekend without Wal-Mart stories is like a morning without nine cups of coffee…

  • The New York Times reports that Wal-Mart is saying that it is not going to hit its deadline for having radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on bulk shipments of prescription drugs, in part because of the cost of the tags, which remain between 25 cents and 30 cents apiece. The NYT also writes that "it is also becoming apparent that industry-wide standards for advanced tags and readers are developing more slowly than the technology's advocates had hoped. That adds to the incentives for delaying investment.

  • The original deadline that Wal-Mart set for its suppliers was the end of this month.

    According to the NYT, just a few companies that Wal-Mart refuses to identify have been sending shipments using the RFID tags. The company says its new goal is to have all the drug makers using RFID tags by the end of June.

  • The Desert Sun reports on how Wal-Mart and Target are duking it out in La Quinta, California, site of the first Wal-Mart supercenter to be opened in the state. While "Target touts its mix of hip clothing and housewares" as opposed to prices, Wal-Mart sticks with its tried-and-true EDLP message.

    The paper notes that "both stores have their ardent fans, and both have seen their parking lots filled daily," but that "retail experts say most local shoppers won’t have an exclusive relationship with either of the new stores -- instead visiting both at various times" depending on the "need state" that the customer is experiencing at that particular moment.

    One thing is for sure. There are numerous press reports of increasingly difficult traffic problems for consumers to wrestle with, owing mostly to the new Wal-Mart Supercenter.

  • The Chicago Zoning Committee broke with the longstanding City Council
    tradition of deferring to the local alderman on zoning issues, and sided with the Chicago Federation of Labor in preventing Wal-Mart from opening a new store on the city's west side.

    The Chicago Sun Times writes: "They argued that Chicago is a 'union town' that should slam the door to a 'notoriously anti-union' retailing behemoth that pays its employees $2 an hour less than its competitors, offers meager benefits, runs roughshod over women and illegal immigrants, and showers its political contributions on Republican candidates."

    Wal-Mart reportedly is looking for ways to circumvent the ruling.

  • Wal-Mart reportedly plans to offer its 1.2 million employees in the US web-based learning programs at discount rates designed to help staffers develop personal skills such as computer skills, time management and goal-setting.

KC's View:
Just another weekend in the Nation of Wal-Mart…